We all know what a great day feels like. A day when looking back, we’re proud of our progress. A day when we stayed in the zone and kept focus on the most important thing. Unfortunately, most our days are interrupted too frequently.
Email is a great way to get re-prioritized by other people’s agenda; but it’s not just e-mail. We are dragged into often ineffective meetings, looped into unnecessary approvals or review sessions, and other bureaucratic activities.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way!
The bad news is that it requires effort and thinking about your thinking, in order to deliberately engineer a culture that is empathetic to these types of interruptions. At Klick Health, we’ve been obsessed with smarter ways to orchestrate creative and strategic work since our inception.
The relentless pursuit of awesome is how we describe our mojo. It’s how we describe our belief system and it’s how we attempt to inoculate ourselves against good enough. Today, we’re going to share an internal video. Our hope is that this inspires a conversation about what’s most important when establishing distinctions about organizational values. We believe that one can shape markets by first shaping culture internally. To that end, it may be beneficial to be open about the journey and context that defined this mindset.
We are often shaped by our experiences and the meaning that we attach to them. Before starting Klick Health, the co-founders of Klick sold our first business into a large public company that was very financially driven. Working together in that environment, we immediately recognized that the design was essentially at odds with motivating our talent to achieve their potential. In fact, the business was run by administrators instead of role models. The rules were rigid and the decisions short sighted. As a result, the outputs were uninspiring and our most capable talent left. We joked about accounting being “the other marketing department” as the business was managed to the next press release. We helplessly watched as our leadership got sucked into the creation of endless powerpoint decks about “the vision thing” — and that was just the start of the dot com days.
The takeaway for us was that the business was managed to optics instead of outcomes. For a group of entrepreneurs with a bias for action, this was very frustrating. So two years into a four year earn-out, we recognized that we had to make a decision. Leave with sanity now, or wait in the hope of promised wealth. We decided to exit that company broke and start Klick Health in April of 1997. We never regretted the decision. Upon reflection, what we learned over those two years, was exactly what not to do. Imagine this, on a frequent basis our priorities were shuffled to reflect a recent request from an investor, or a new “idea” from an executive who had no clue about the craft. This was exhausting. This drove away our brightest talent. As we shared, this was eventually unbearable enough for us to leave as well. That said, it also established our belief system. Today, we attribute our consistent and predictable growth to this thinking.
Mission-driven is an overused term these days. Since our inception, we’ve been obsessed with demonstrating that there is a better way to organize creative and strategic people. We’re often asked to describe our culture and our recruiting site does a fairly good job. At the same time, internally, we describe our mojo as the relentless pursuit of awesome. We didn’t recognize how different our thinking was until we got to a scale where many people started to ask us how we’re continuing to grow at over 50%. This invariably leads us to show people what we’re doing behind the curtain. Our goal is to encourage other progressive leaders to experiment with organizations that are more talent-centric. It’s that commitment to contributing our learnings and helping to shape a movement. Our hope is that this inspires other leaders to build talent-centric organizations that follow the principles we’ve outlined in The Decoded Company.
We realized that if we designed a culture that empowered our people, we could create a centre of gravity for brilliant minds. As a result, we netted on a philosophy that puts culture at the top of our hierarchy because that’s what attracts the best people. By having the best people in an environment that allows them to do their best thinking, we’re consistently performing for clients. In turn, our clients reward us with loyalty and growth, which we can then reinvest into our culture and future-proofing our business.
This virtuous cycle has worked for us and we’re convinced that these ideas are universal.